After upsetting the #1 Tampa Spartans in the series opener Friday, the Florida Tech baseball team went into Saturday’s doubleheader looking for a series sweep. It almost came to be. The Panthers won a 14-12 thriller in game one, before dropping an 11-9 decision in game two.
Game one featured a lot of crooked numbers by both teams, as the Panthers had two five-run innings and Tampa scored 10 runs combined in the seventh and eighth.
Colin Cristello got the start in game one for the Panthers and he gave his team six innings, allowing two runs on eight hits. He struck out seven and walked three, throwing 11 pitches. Cristello left two Tampa runners on base in the first and then the Panthers offense went to work in the bottom of the inning.
Rodnie Bernard led off with a double against Tampa starter Tanner Foster. After a passed ball moved him to third, James Gronberg walked and Jacob Buser followed with a single down the line in right, making it 1-0. Dylan Owens would add an RBI single and Blaise Maris drew a bases-loaded walk, making it 3-0 and ended the day early for Foster.
Jakob Newton greeted new pitcher Sammy Peralta with an RBI single and it was 4-0. The Panthers final run of the inning came on a Pedro Rivera sac fly. The Panthers would go up 6-0 in the second inning, scoring that run on a wild pitch.
The third inning saw the Panthers put another five-spot on the board, highlighted by an Owens three-run bomb, that put the Panthers up 11-0. The bottom of the fourth saw the Panthers put three more on the board and another pitching change for Tampa that saw Bo Weiss enter the game. The Panthers runs came courtesy of a Vincenzo Catanza RBI single, a Rivera RBI ground out and an error. When all was said and done, the Panthers were up 14-0 four innings in.
Tampa finally got on the board in the sixth inning on back-to-back run-scoring singles by Yorvis Torrealba and Cole Perry. Cristello would finish the inning but would give way to Rhett Willis in the seventh.
Tampa showed why they were ranked number one coming into this weekend, getting six runs in the seventh inning. An error allowed two runs to cross, along with a two-run double by John Pichman contributed to the big inning, and just like that, it was a 14-8 game.
Things got interesting in the eighth, when Willis got the first two outs of the inning, only to give up a hit, hit a batter, throw a wild pitch and walk a batter, loading the bases. That brought Perry to the plate and he went yard, making it a 14-12 game with one swing of the bat.
Ryan Allain, who pitched on Friday, came in to pitch the ninth for the Panthers and he gave up a hit, but struck out two, keeping Tampa from making the comeback complete. With that. Allain earned his second save in as many nights.
Florida Tech had 12 hits in game one, including a 3-for-4 day from Owens. He had four RBIs and scored two runs. Bernard went 2-for-5 with two RBIs and Newton went 2-for-3 with an RBI and two runs scored.
For more info: Tampa @ Florida Tech Box Score (Game 1)
In game two, it was Tampa putting together consecutive innings with at least one run, against Panthers starter Preston Schumacher.
An RBI single by Danny Maynard came in the first inning. They would get two more in the second inning on a sac fly by Nick DeTringo and a run-scoring single by Alec Aleywine. That was followed by a single run in the third that came home on a Danny Blair base hit, giving the Spartans a 4-0 lead.
The lead would disappear in a hurry, as the Panthers jumped all over Tampa starter Mason Duke in the bottom of the third. A Gronberg single and an error both allowed runs to score, cutting the Spartans lead in half, 4-2. Newton hit an RBI triple and was chased home by a Buser single, tying the game at 4.
The Panthers would grab the lead when Buser scored on an error. A Maris RBI double made it 6-4 and Brett Parrish capped off the seven-run inning with an RBI triple. Tampa wasted no time getting the lead back in the top of the fourth, thanks to a four-run outburst, highlighted by a bases-clearing double off the bat of DeTringo, giving Tampa an 8-7 advantage.
The game stayed that way until the bottom of the fifth, when Raul Quintero, who was taken out of Friday’s game after being hit by a pitch, tied Saturday’s game with a double, knocking in Buser.
Tampa (9-4, 1-2 SSC) would reclaim the lead in the top of the sixth on a Blair RBI single. The Panthers answered in the bottom of the inning when a Buser single got Newton to third and an error allowed him to score, tying things up again.
Panthers reliever Jake Lane gave up a single and a walk to start the ninth inning and he was given the hook after four-plus innings. That brought Tyler Osterman to the mound and he got one out before issuing an intentional walk to load the bases. He walked Maynard to give the Spartans a 10-9 lead and Nick Derr would drive in the Spartans final run on a ground out. Both runs were charged to Lane.
The Panthers (5-6, 2-1 SSC) would threaten in the bottom of the inning, with consecutive singles by Buser and Owens. They would be stranded, as Beck settled down to strike out the next two batters and get Parrish to fly out to center, ending the game.
For more info: Tampa @ Florida Tech Box Score (Game 2)
The Panthers homestand continues Wednesday against Davenport. First pitch is scheduled for 6:00 p.m.